Cauliflower is grown as an annual. It can be grown in all climates. For spring planting, cauliflower should be planted 2 to 3 weeks before the last spring frost. If you plan on using transplants make sure there is a tiny bud in the center of the plant, otherwise no head will form. If planting cauliflower in the fall, plant 14 weeks before first fall frost. Plant 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep in rows 14 to 24 inches apart. Cauliflower only needs to have 1 inch of water every other week. It does need water in the early stages and during head development. Cauliflower cannot be grown in containers or greenhouses. Feed cauliflower with compost at the beginning of planting and then lightly every 2 weeks during the growing season. Buttoning, or very small heads can be caused from a variety of reasons, such as, cool soil temperature, soil low in nitrogen, too much salt in the soil, or too many weeds.
To keep cauliflower heads white tie the outer leaves over the heads when they are 2-3 inches in diameter. Pick the heads when they are firm and white. Check cauliflower daily and harvest as soon as it is ready because the heads deteriorate quickly. Refrigerate cauliflower for up to 5 days or for longer storage cauliflower can be frozen.
- Slugs are present if the cauliflower leaves have large ragged holes. Control slugs by hand picking them or use sand or another type of material around the plants to provide a barrier for the slugs.
- Cabbage Loopers are present if cauliflower leaves have small ragged holes. They also bore into the cabbage heads.
- Aphids will turn the leaves yellow and make them curl and pucker. Spray plants vigorously to rid them of aphids.
- Cutworms sever the plants at or below the surface. They are night feeders and hide in the soil during daylight. Use barriers like cornmeal or bran to prevent access to the plants.
Cooking with Cauliflower
Here are some ways of using cauliflower in cooking.
- Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, K
- omega 3